Last year, in saying goodbye to 2019, I pledged to a year of “never forgetting the most important things in life. A new year full of laughs, love, opportunity, taking care of others, and taking care of ourselves.” And though 2020 was a rough one, (I think most of us could sum it up with that one liner) I also think in hindsight, I accomplished those things. I think finding love and laughter in the smallest of things is probably the biggest thing that got us through. I experienced many moments of just stepping outside of myself and watching in pure awe at the blessing I have in close relationships with my family. These hard months were such a reminder that a lot of people don’t have that, and that this year really brought for them an isolation period with no one there to support them. I realized that my group of friends is small, and only seems smaller each year, but that the quality and outpouring of their love is more than enough. That all being said, I’m more than ready to say goodbye to this year… “thank you for your time, but, I’m no longer interested.” (I said that in my dating life a few times this year too…har de har)
In the last few days, I’ve really been starting to look ahead and think about what mindset I want to go into 2021 with. What word I’m going to choose to center in and focus on. I read a lot of books this last year, many of those in the memoir, self-help category, and I’ve been thinking about some of the passages that stood out to me. One in particular has really been hanging over me for the last several days, and I’ve decided to adopt it for the year…
From Untamed by Glennon Doyle:
“Take good care of all of your selves. Fight like hell to keep yourself, and when you lose her, do whatever it takes to return to her.”
These words come in a chapter titled “Invaders” which focuses primarily on anxiety and depression. If you know me, you know I’ve had my fair share of struggles with this. I’m a deep, deep “feeler” but, this chapter talks about how these things are not feelings so much as they are “body snatchers” or as I like to refer to them, thieves of joy. These snatchers are so perfectly described in a way that I couldn’t explain any better in trying to get someone to understand. She says living with these things, “makes it impossible to enter the moment, to land inside my body and be there. I cannot be in the moment because I’m too afraid of what the next moment will bring. I have to be ready.”
Stewing these words over has led me to three words of focus for the upcoming year: Protection, Presence, and Prayer.
For the worry wart that I am, one would assume that I would be quite guarded. In reality, I’m more of the “welcome, welcome” type, opening up my heart to all. That’s not necessarily a bad quality, but when it comes to the body snatchers, too easily opening a door can very much lead to destruction. So, I choose protection. When you love and value yourself, you begin to realize that not everyone deserves a seat at your table. There will be a lot more ‘no thank you’s” at my table this year. Sorry, this seat is reserved for my sanity.
Next up is presence. “the state or fact of existing, occurring, or being present in a place or thing.” That thing I shared earlier about the impossibility of being able to just enter into a moment and land there, that poses a problem here. But, I’m going to lean on another P and say that it is possible. My life is full of amazing moments but sometimes I can’t see them because I’m too worried about what may or may not happen next. What the year ahead may or may not hold. My goal is just to live in the moment while it’s happening.
And when those two things feel impossible, there comes the most important of the three: prayer. I pray a lot, but not enough. If anything is to overtake my year, I want it to be prayer. Feeling anxious? Pray. Feeling overwhelmed? Pray. Feeling thankful for new opportunities? Pray. Want someone to sit at my table? Let me first have a conversation in prayer with the guy who is always in the chair beside me. In those moments that I lose myself…pray. In every single thing, pray. The snatcher can’t steal from you if you hold up your weapon of prayer.
As much as we’d like to believe it, 2021 isn’t going to put an end to the things we’ve been living through this past year. But, I know that with the right perspective (another P) we can do more than just survive, we can shine.